Healthcare

New study shows link between auto plant closures and opioid deaths in working class America

By Jessica Goldstein, 3 January 2020

The study found a staggering 85 percent increase in opioid deaths in counties which experienced a plant closure.

Collapse of UK National Health Service threatened as Johnson government readies further onslaught

By Robert Stevens, 31 December 2019

Figures compiled by NHS England found that in November the health service missed all targets for Accident and Emergency (A&E) care, operations and cancer treatment.

Australian mental health report highlights a systemic crisis

By Margaret Rees, 28 December 2019

Patients, carers and medical staff “are being traumatised by an under-resourced system.”

Research explains how the measles virus destroys immune “memory”

By Frank Gaglioti, 27 December 2019

The measles virus is particularly dangerous as it wipes out immunity previously acquired after exposure to other microbes in a process known as “immune amnesia.”

UK Whirlpool recall highlights threat to millions from defective domestic appliances

By Margot Miller, 27 December 2019

Faulty washing machines, tumble dryers, cookers, fridges, freezers—everyday household items we take for granted—are turning the homes of millions into death traps.

Trump slashes Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico

By Julio Patron, 24 December 2019

President Trump personally intervened in last week’s spending talks to reduce funding for Puerto Rico, which has been plagued by recession and ruthless social inequality.

Australian fires bring growing global climate crisis into stark relief

By James Cogan, 23 December 2019

The catastrophic fires in Australia follow blazes that have engulfed large areas of California, Siberia, Borneo and the Amazon.

Australia: Toxic air from bushfires rated a “public health emergency”

By John Mackay, 23 December 2019

Health professionals have called on governments to take action amid record levels of bushfire haze in towns and cities.

Las Vegas apartment fire kills 6, injures 13 and displaces over 50 residents

By Jacob Crosse, 23 December 2019

Residents of the Alpine Motel Apartments reported no fire alarms or sprinklers went off, forcing them to leap out of windows to escape.

Explosion at Illinois silicone manufacturing facility entirely preventable

By Jessica Goldstein, 23 December 2019

The findings of the Chemical Safety Hazard Investigation Board report demonstrate that AB Specialty Silicones is responsible for the deaths by willful negligence.

Five-day strike of Kaiser Permanente mental health workers ends

By Kevin Martinez and Evelyn Rios, 23 December 2019

As planned by the union, the strike ended with no new contract proposal.

Facing scrutiny in the US, Purdue Pharma markets OxyContin overseas

By Gary Joad and Brian Dixon, 21 December 2019

Like Purdue Pharma did in the US, sales representatives for Mundipharma are aggressively marketing OxyContin to physicians in other countries for everyday aches and pains, downplaying its addictive properties.

One day after impeachment: Democrats back Trump trade, budget bills

By Patrick Martin, 20 December 2019

One day after the US House of Representatives adopted two articles of impeachment against President Trump, the House passed Trump’s top policy priority for 2019, the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, by a massive bipartisan margin.

Workplace violence a major problem for US nurses

By Alex Johnson, 20 December 2019

A major cause of the increase in violence is the lack of mental health resources and treatment for a large section of the population.

Bush fires claim lives and property as Australia endures hottest days in recorded history

By James Cogan, 20 December 2019

The development of catastrophic conditions has been predicted and warned about for years.

California: Kaiser Permanente health care workers speak from the picket line

By our reporters, 18 December 2019

Kaiser Permanente workers spoke to WSWS reporters about the horrific conditions in its mental health care system.

Australia: Thousands attend climate change rally in Sydney

By Martin Scott, 13 December 2019

While bushfires ravaged the state, workers and students gathered to protest government inaction on climate change.

Labour’s pose as defender of the National Health Service exposed

By Robert Stevens, 11 December 2019

Labour’s claim to be the only party that will defend the NHS is the main reason many support the party. But like most of its main pledges, this too is without genuine substance.

Thousands of children in New Jersey found to have elevated blood lead levels

By Erik Schreiber, 10 December 2019

The New Jersey Department of Health’s annual report shows that scandalous levels of lead contamination in public water are not limited to the city of Newark, where local officials’ criminal response made headlines this year.

Australian doctor condemns Britain’s denial of adequate medical care to Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 December 2019

Dr Chesterfield-Evans said that prior to the Assange case, he had “never seen governments completely wipe their hands of an individual, lock people up and refuse to give them medical treatment.”

The Dirty War on the National Health Service: John Pilger documentary “goes to the heart of the struggle for democracy today”

By Jean Shaoul, 10 December 2019

Pilger’s work is a deeply passionate appeal to working people in the UK to oppose the decades-long, covert assault on the NHS by all three major parties.

Australia: Ongoing health fallout from 2018 toxic chemical blaze

By Margaret Rees, 3 December 2019

Firefighters and residents are continuing to suffer ill effects from the huge fire in Melbourne’s West Footscray.

Five dead in Minneapolis, Minnesota high-rise fire

By Matt Rigel, 28 November 2019

Most of the victims were Somali immigrants in a neighborhood near the city’s downtown area.

Social counterrevolution and the decline in US life expectancy

By Niles Niemuth, 28 November 2019

A study published this week by the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms that the fall in life expectancy in the US is the product of a decades-long assault on the working class.

In the face of attacks by billionaires, Obama

Elizabeth Warren backpedals on “Medicare for All”

By Kate Randall, 20 November 2019

Less than three weeks after presenting her “Medicare for All” proposal, Warren is backtracking on virtually all of its components.

Google’s Project Nightingale: The largest transfer to date of private medical data to the tech giant

By Benjamin Mateus, 18 November 2019

More than 50 million not de-identified health records spanning 21 states are being shared with Google through a secret partnership with Ascension Healthcare.

Australian bushfire crisis continues as political fallout intensifies

By Mike Head, 18 November 2019

Prime Minister Morrison and Labor Party leader Albanese have both tried to call a halt to any discussion of the crucial issues raised by the fires.

Missouri officials tracked women’s menstrual periods in effort to shut down state’s last abortion provider

By Jessica Goldstein, 13 November 2019

The state’s spreadsheet contained confidential, non-medical information, such as women’s names and medical ID numbers, which could be used by the state to identify and locate them—effectively spying on patients.

California police arrest woman for delivering stillborn baby with drugs in its system

By Dan Conway, 11 November 2019

California police arrested 25-year-old Chelsea Cheyenne Becker on a charge of 1st degree murder last week after she delivered a stillborn baby with methamphetamine in its system.

One year since the Northern California Camp Fire

An accounting of a crime

By Toby Reese, 11 November 2019

November 8 marked one year since the outbreak of the Northern California Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive fire in the state’s history.

How Ford and the UAW plan to cut autoworkers’ health care

By Esther Galen, 6 November 2019

The joint Company-Union Committee overseeing health care will make drastic changes to help Ford cut costs.

Elizabeth Warren unveils her “Medicare for All” electoral gimmick

By Kate Randall, 5 November 2019

The ruling elite will resist to the end any infringement, however minimal, on its ability to accumulate wealth at the expense of the working class.

New York University’s new mental health initiative cheats students in need of counseling

By Sam Dalton, 29 October 2019

NYU has launched a wellness program that is inadequate for the mental health needs of its students.

Reports highlight rising methamphetamine health crisis across US Midwest

By Jacob Crosse, 24 October 2019

The number of meth related cases reported in the state of Wisconsin alone have surged by 450 percent over the last decade.

Major distributors and manufacturers of opioids avert trial by reaching $260 million wrist-slap settlement in Ohio

By Brian Dixon and Benjamin Mateus, 23 October 2019

The settlement is seen as a “bellwether” case for future opioid lawsuits, with the companies making no admission of guilt for the drug overdose crisis which has ravaged the US.

Continued rise in STDs highlights bipartisan attack on American healthcare system

By Erik Schreiber, 17 October 2019

As the CDC itself implies, the continuing increase in the incidence of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis is a scandal and an indictment of both capitalist parties.

Official cover-up continues of Australian paramedic’s suicide

By Cheryl Crisp, 12 October 2019

Undisclosed disciplinary action against senior managers over the death of Tony Jenkins is at odds with a NSW Ambulance report that identified systemic deficiencies.

As US vaping-related lung illnesses soar, FDA found negligent in enforcing e-cig regulations

By Benjamin Mateus, 7 October 2019

A report issued by the NIH’s drug abuse section highlights the dramatic rise in vaping among teenagers; 37.3 percent of 12th graders reported they had vaped in the past 12 months.

Jeff Bezos’ Whole Foods slashes medical benefits for nearly 2,000 part-time workers

By Eddie Haywood, 3 October 2019

Bezos, net worth $115 billion, makes enough money in 2 to 6 hours to more than cover the cost of an entire year of benefits for all of the workers facing cuts.

Study predicts significant outbreaks of measles in Texas due to low vaccination rates

By Gary Joad, 2 October 2019

Texas, the second most populous state, grants the greatest number of vaccine exemptions for personal philosophical and religious reasons of any state in US.

Striking University of Chicago nurses return to work after five-day lock-out

By Benjamin Mateus, 28 September 2019

The nurses returned to work on Wednesday without any resolution of their grievances.

Majority of West Virginia counties rank worst in US for water quality

By Naomi Spencer, 28 September 2019

A new report finds 36 of West Virginia’s 55 counties rank among the worst in the country for drinking water violations.

US: Strike of 85,000 Kaiser Permanente workers called off by unions

By Kevin Martinez, 27 September 2019

The strike planned for October 15 has been called off after a tentative agreement was reached without any input from Kaiser Permanente’s 85,000 workers.

Officials cover up lead in water crisis in Newark, New Jersey

By Shuvu Batta, 27 September 2019

Residents of Newark, New Jersey, continue to be exposed to lead in their tap water as their city and state officials attempt to lie their way out of the crisis.

Police surveillance used to report disabled protesters to UK government for alleged benefit fraud

By Dennis Moore, 23 September 2019

Many disabled activists have raised concerns that police have passed on information about disabled protesters who participate in demonstrations against welfare cuts and anti-austerity movements.

US healthcare workers face rise in workplace violence

By Alex Johnson, 20 September 2019

One in four nurses is assaulted on the job on any given day as the healthcare crisis creates a toxic workplace environment.

Strike date of October 14 set for 80,000 Kaiser Permanente health care workers across US

By Kevin Martinez, 19 September 2019

The walkout would be the largest strike in the US since 1997 and follow close on the heels of the strike by 46,000 GM autoworkers which began at midnight Sunday.

Purdue Pharma, accused of deliberately fueling deadly US opioid crisis, files for bankruptcy

By Kate Randall, 18 September 2019

An agreement with plaintiffs would absolve the Sackler family of culpability for the hundreds of thousands of deaths linked to promotion and sale of OxyContin.

Accidental drug overdose deaths continue to rise in Australia

By Clare Bruderlin, 18 September 2019

As in the US, the pharmaceutical companies are taking advantage of social misery to addict the population on deadly drugs.

Abrupt closures of two hospitals in West Virginia and Ohio leave region reeling

By Naomi Spencer, 16 September 2019

The termination of critical healthcare services will have a deeply damaging impact on the communities, and potentially deadly consequences for individuals who rely on them.

New York City mayor declares end of measles public health emergency

By Gary Joad, 16 September 2019

During a nine-month period, 52 people were hospitalized and 16 individuals placed in intensive care units. Eighty percent of those contracting measles were children.

Australian government pushes drug testing for welfare recipients

By Oscar Grenfell, 16 September 2019

The trial, which is aimed at extending “welfare quarantining” measures, would target working class areas hit by job destruction and government budget cuts.

Abortion bill in NSW used to push Australian politics further to the right

By Cheryl Crisp, 16 September 2019

The emotive demagogy over abortion is part of a campaign to mobilise a right-wing Christian base and recruit them into the Liberal Party.

US study shows: Poverty and social inequality are killers

By Patrick Martin, 12 September 2019

A study by the Government Accountability Office released this week shows that poor Americans are nearly twice as likely to die before they reach old age as rich Americans.

US agency warns of lung illness epidemic among young people, attributed to e-cigarettes

By Benjamin Mateus, 9 September 2019

The FDA has issued a public warning of a rapidly developing epidemic of severe lung illnesses associated with “vaping,” with 450 cases confirmed spanning 33 states.

The epidemic of nurse suicides and the US healthcare crisis

By Kate Randall, 7 September 2019

The tragic rise of nurse suicides is a result of the intersection of the lives and labor of this workforce with the brutality of the capitalist system, which values profit above and the health of the population.

“The stress in healthcare is at a tipping point”

An interview with nurse scientist Judy Davidson on rising nurse suicides

By Alex Johnson, 2 September 2019

Judy Davidson was part of the psychiatric research team that recently uncovered the high incidence of suicide in the nursing industry.

Johnson & Johnson v. State of Oklahoma: How the courts are covering for Big Pharma

By Genevieve Leigh, 29 August 2019

The toothless ruling follows a well-worn pattern in which giant corporations, after committing horrific social crimes, get off with a relatively small fine.

New US public charge rule may deter immigrants from vaccinating children

By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 28 August 2019

Fear of being denied permanent residency for using social services is already causing immigrant parents to avoid accessing essential medical services for their children.

Unison calls off Bradford hospital workers’ strike

By Richard Tyler and Robert Stevens, 28 August 2019

Behind the scenes, the union and management had been meeting in a desperate bid to avert a strike and agree to a negotiated settlement.

Oklahoma judge finds Johnson & Johnson guilty in opioid epidemic

By Benjamin Mateus, 27 August 2019

While the $572 million judgment fell short of the $17 billion sought by the state, the court’s ruling was an unambiguous finding that the giant corporation deliberately downplayed the dangers of the opioids it manufactured.

UK: Record £9.2 billion of NHS budget handed to private firms

By Ben Trent, 17 August 2019

A third of hip replacements carried out in the NHS are now done privately and community health and mental health provision have seen five years of continual gains by the private sector.

Australian health workers protest assaults on staff

By John Wilson, 17 August 2019

The Health Services Union limited the action and channelled workers’ anger into a demand for more security officers, not for increased funding and staffing.

New studies reveal growing epidemic of nurse suicides in the US

By Alex Johnson, 16 August 2019

Hospital conditions and the accompanying mental health strain are driving increasing numbers of nurses to take their own lives.

A socialist strategy is needed to defend jobs and conditions

UK: Bradford NHS workers vote to strike against privatisation

By Richard Tyler, 15 August 2019

Hospital workers in Bradford, England, facing the backdoor privatisation of their jobs, have voted to take indefinite strike action from August 26.

Bottled water distributions begin as lead water poisoning crisis erupts in Newark, New Jersey

By Daniel de Vries, 14 August 2019

After three years of cover-up, city and state officials were forced to begin distributing bottled water to residents on Monday.

Indian doctors hold national 24-hour walkout; Chinese auto workers strike; Australian railway workers vote for industrial action

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

3 August 2019

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

US doctors’ group urges probe into child migrant deaths from influenza

By Kate Randall, 2 August 2019

According to autopsy results, at least three migrant children have died in US custody as a result of influenza and its complications since December 2018, a rate of death substantially higher than that among children in the general population.

“They opened fire as if we were animals”

AMLO’s police gun down immigrant near US border

By Andrea Lobo, 2 August 2019

A migrant was shot dead while running away from police with his eight-year-old daughter hours before Trump praised Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government at a rally in Ohio.

Slump deepens in Australian residential construction industry

By Paul Bartizan and Richard Phillips, 2 August 2019

Multiple faults in new apartment buildings have become a factor in the bursting of a debt-fuelled property bubble that is threatening thousands of jobs.

UAW, Ford enforce punitive attendance policies at Chicago Assembly Plant ahead of September contract expiration

By Jessica Goldstein, 31 July 2019

The UAW is now playing a critical role in disciplining workers at the behest of Ford in advance of the September expiration of the national auto contract agreement.

Early peak in Australia influenza season causes concern

By John Mackay, 31 July 2019

The severity of deadly flu outbreaks could be minimised with global free access to vaccination, and the development of a universal vaccine.

Australian disability centre closures result in nearly a dozen deaths

By Max Newman, 26 July 2019

Former residents of a disability centre in Newcastle have died after being transferred to under-funded group homes via the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Bradford NHS workers to strike against “backdoor privatisation”

By Barry Mason, 24 July 2019

The Bradford hospital trust’s plans are aimed at enforcing government-imposed efficiency cuts of 4 percent each year, around £16 million in the current financial year.

Merchants of death

How the pharmaceutical companies, Congress and the DEA made the opioid epidemic a billion-dollar industry

By Genevieve Leigh, 23 July 2019

Previously undisclosed government information shows how drug manufacturers and distributors responded to the emerging opioid epidemic by pumping more pills into the hardest-hit regions.

Australian cancer victim sues Bayer-Monsanto

By Frank Gaglioti, 23 July 2019

Michael Ogalirolo claims his potentially lethal cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is due to 18 years of exposure to glyphosate, the active component of the herbicide Roundup.

Drug companies poured 76 billion opioid pills into US neighborhoods in just six years

By Genevieve Leigh, 19 July 2019

Newly released data shows that between 2006 and 2012, as the drug epidemic spiraled out of control, drug companies flooded the country with oxycodone and hydrocodone pain pills.

UK: Bed shortages cause increasing reliance on emergency beds in NHS hospitals

By Ben Trent, 18 July 2019

Over the past 30 years, NHS bed capacity has been halved by Labour and Conservative governments.

Australian aged care inquiry hears damning evidence of abuse

By Clare Bruderlin, 18 July 2019

Testimony by care workers, patients and family members has underscored how the cost-cutting drive for profit jeopardises the health, safety and quality of life of elderly people.

Minnesota nurses struggle betrayed by union

By Jonas Boquist, 10 July 2019

The piecemeal ratifications carried out by the MNA diluted the strength of all 13,000 nurses and facilitated the implementation of contracts acceptable to hospital management.

Global conflict situations, poverty lead to rise in mental health crises

By Alex Johnson, 9 July 2019

US imperialism and its allies bear principal responsibility for the wars and military interventions that have wrought devastation throughout the world.

Giant US healthcare corporations fear hostile takeover by high-tech companies

By Benjamin Mateus, 8 July 2019

While the US population has expanded by 75 percent since 1960, to approximately 325 million people, healthcare expenditure, in constant dollars, has risen approximately 2000 percent.

Hundreds quit union as UAW pushes through sellout deal at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio

By Shannon Jones, 5 July 2019

Nurses who struck for six weeks are outraged and disgusted by the conduct of the UAW, which scabbed on their strike and then rammed through a rotten agreement.

Deadly Legionella bacteria found at Ford Dearborn Truck plant

By George Kirby, 5 July 2019

While Ford and the UAW have downplayed the finding, claiming the amounts are small, the CDC says there is no safe level of the bacteria.

Protesting nurses speak out in Long Beach, California

By Rafael Azul and Kimie Saito, 28 June 2019

“Patients are not numbers! Maximum patients + minimum nurses = maximum profits. And the costs are passed on to the consumers and us.”

Union works to sabotage unity of Minnesota nurses’ struggle

By Matt Rigel, 28 June 2019

The Minnesota Nurses Association is working to sell out nurses in Minneapolis-St. Paul metro region by negotiating contracts at some hospitals while others remain unsettled.

New petrochemical complex could create a “cancer alley” on Ohio River

By John Ashbrook, 28 June 2019

The Trump administration is backing a tri-state effort to build a huge fossil fuel processing facility that threatens public health and the environment.

No more lies!

The way forward in the struggle against the poisoning of Flint

the WSWS editorial board, 28 June 2019

The following statement is being distributed to a community meeting in Flint Friday night.

Trump plan will slash Medicaid and food stamps

By Norisa Diaz, 26 June 2019

The Trump administration is pursuing a change in the way the federal government calculates inflation to cut hundreds of thousands of people from basic social services.

Anger and disgust over UAW betrayal of Mercy St. Vincent nurses strike in Toledo, Ohio

By Shannon Jones, 24 June 2019

The union’s claim that a return to the bargaining table would lead to an improved deal, was nothing but a cynical ploy.

“Sully” Sullenberger testifies that the 737 Max 8 was “fatally flawed”

By Bryan Dyne, 21 June 2019

The airline captain’s statement to Congress exposed the negligence of Boeing and questioned the relationship between the company and regulatory agencies.

Unreported releases from coal ash ponds may be more widespread in US than previously known

By John Ashbrook, 21 June 2019

Millions of people are potentially exposed to toxic coal ash, which can cause bone cancers, leukemia and nervous system and brain damage.

General Practitioners surgery closures in UK at record high

By Ben Trent, 20 June 2019

The only way to counter the privatisation of the NHS is the mobilisation of health care workers in the UK and internationally against capitalism.

Increased privatisation of UK mental health services jeopardises patient care

By Ajanta Silva, 19 June 2019

Drastic cuts, the shutdown of facilities, and outsourcing have crippled care for the most vulnerable.

Minnesota Nurses Association announces sellout tentative deal at Children’s Hospitals in Minneapolis-St. Paul

By Jonas Boquist, 17 June 2019

It has been many decades since the unions have launched a nationwide strike in any industry. In its place they have adopted the program of union-management collaboration."

Suicide rates for doctors and young physicians among highest in the US population

By Alex Johnson, 17 June 2019

Doctors are often hesitant to seek treatment, due to the stigma associated with mental health problems.

The Commonwealth Fund’s 2019 Scorecard

Rising US “deaths of despair” driven by health care costs, lack of access to care

By Kate Randall, 14 June 2019

A new study shows that one of the major underlying causes of “deaths of despair” is social inequality, in particular lack of access to health care and the associated financial struggles.

“UAW doesn’t care about us!”

Nurses outraged over UAW sellout of hospital strike in Toledo, Ohio

By Jerry White, 14 June 2019

After nurses struck for six weeks, the United Auto Workers union unilaterally ordered them back to work, demanding that they vote on a deal without time to study or discuss it.

Minnesota nursing home workers carry out two-day strike

By Jonas Boquist, 14 June 2019

Nursing home workers struck the Guardian Angels Care Center in Elk River last week to fight for improved wages and safe staffing levels.

“We went out with the nurses, we should go back with the nurses”

Mercy Health strikers in Toledo, Ohio denounce UAW sabotage of their struggle

By Shannon Jones, 3 June 2019

In an act of blatant strikebreaking, the UAW organized a vote by support staff and technicians at Mercy Health St. Vincent in order to isolate striking nurses and force them back to work.